For the next little while I will write about what I learned working on the project I recently completed: The Legend of Silk Boy.
First item will be something I learned from the director, David Liu.
David truly left me to my own devices during this project. He had a very different approach than most directors in that he would not get involved much during the music production.
There was no temp track to deal with and David did not impose any stylistic demands on me. I mean, we saw eye to eye as to what the score should be; and orchestral fantasy score.
Still, when I sent him mockups he only twice offered a different idea, to which I promptly agreed, but the rest of the time he would say “you are the expert.”
Once in a while I would get a phone call where he would ask me what my reason for doing my musical choice. I would explain and he would then just say “very good” and move on to another topic.
I was not used to this from a director, but once I understood how David worked and that my cues were getting accepted with trust in my abilities, it felt like I was set free in a field: the elation of fresh air and freedom!
The net result was that I felt my ideas were respected, that my contribution to the project was valuable, that I wasn’t going to write music that would instantly be rejected. Because of this I was able to invest myself 110% into every single note I wrote. I felt like I was allowed to me myself and do the best that I could.
Let’s face it, composers always do the best they can (at least I do) but when you are constantly second guessing the director and the producers, and work with fear and doubt, you are careful, and being careful rarely leads to all out effort, which rarely leads to your best work.
It’s just normal.
During the four days of the orchestral recording sessions I got to spend a lot of time with David, and I asked him about his approach. This was his answer:
Part of my job as a director, as I see it, is to pick the right people for the job. It is only if I didn’t pick the right person that I have to meddle and interfere and ask for changes.
So I am very careful in the people I choose, and then I give them the environment and space to do their best work.
And my best work I did.